Overall Score: 8/10 songs: 8/10 production: 9/10 replayability: 8/10 Pros: A fun album full of massive songs, that manages to completely reinvent Machine Gun Kelly Cons: There are some moments that stand out due to lack of variety
I will admit right upfront that I have never cared for Machine Gun Kelly. I found him to be overly obnoxious, and frankly a bit of a poser with very little to back it up. With that said I don’t think I could have ever seen this mid career genre switch coming at all.
When news spread that MGK was releasing a pop punk album, I think I, with the rest of the world let out a collective groan, it just seemed so out of character for him and it smacked of him trying to crowbar himself into a genre to extend his reach, and nothing about it seemed sincere in the slightest…then the singles started dropping.
Bloody Valentine, is probably the catchiest thing to come out in 2020 that isn’t responsible for a global pandemic. While Concert for Aliens is a pitch perfect slice of early 2000’s pop punk that Simple Plan would be grateful to still be able to churn out all these years later.
As good as the singles are, there were still many reasons to be sceptical, as it could have easily been a bait & switch. Would this be a full fledged pop punk album coming from Machine Gun Kelly? Refreshingly the answer is yes. He promised a pop punk album and that is exactly what he has delivered.
Tickets To My Downfall is one of the most exhilirating albums to come out in 2020. 36 minutes of pure pop punk perfection, that will make you smile from ear to ear, from the first note to the last. It’s breathless, joyous and full of youthful exuberance taking you back to the days of Macbeth trucker hats, jelly bangles and skating in your town centre with your best mates.
There was clearly a lot of love put into this album, and with a very specific sound in mind. This album sounds like it could have come from the early 90’s SoCal scene, it helps that Travis Barker produced it and played on every song, lending his signature sound to proceedings.
Title Track, Kiss Kiss and Forget Me Not featuring Halsey are some of the stand out moments, all boasting cavernous choruses that will be stuck in your head for so long you’ll have to start charging them rent.
WWIII is a 59 second blast or pure punk energy that hits you like a slap in the face and runs off laughing before you even know what has hit you. There are moments where the hip hop moments bleed back in with All I Know and My Ex’s Best Friend featuring Trippie Redd & Blackbear respectively, with their looped beats and more rap based vocals give some of the older fans a nice bridge between the older and newer material, without completely doing away with this new sound entirely.
As good as Tickets To My Downfall is, and it is a great album from top to bottom, there are moments where it does feel like it spins its wheels a bit. Jawbreaker comes in towards the end of the album, but by the time it comes in it feels like a retread of some of the moments from the albums first half. It’s a minor note, the album is so short and moves so fast you never feel bored by anything, but the lack of variety becomes more apparent over multiple listens, it’s not bad enough to hurt the overall appeal of the album though.
Whether this is a path that Machine Gun Kelly treads more than once, or if he continues in a more rock orientated route in the future only time will tell. As a one off Tickets To My Downfall is a triumph of an album, that will make you see him in a new light. This is a fun, honest and at times surprisingly sweet album that will leave you with a giant grin on your face and an urge to revisit your lost youth.
Tickets To My Downfall is released on the 25th of September 2020 through Bad Boy and Interscope Records.